When the crazy had stopped swirling, I was able to look at the lost evening and wonder what was wrong with me. Not with him - he was a kid whose mom was being mean, and he reacted accordingly. But sometimes, when he gets antsy, and I get antsy, I start to think that the only way I can deal with this is by coming down firmly, showing him who's boss, standing my ground, and expecting him to do what he's told because I'm the adult and he's the child. Otherwise, I will probably end up with a juvenile delinquent, because I was too easygoing a parent.
Today, I remember that that's not how I do it. And there are books to back me up on this. He's a human being and we can work it out together, the way human beings do. If I treat him with kindness, he'll respond with ... with... oh, I don't know... glee that he's getting away with it? Will he learn that I'm a pushover and that he can get whatever he wants by pushing? Will he, as Penelope Leach assured me, like me and want to please me? Do I want to raise a kid who just wants to please authority figures so they'll be nice to him? It sounds namby pamby, but if the alternative is being a sociopath, then I suppose I do.
Sometimes I hate listening to the experts. I would much rather listen to my heart and do what works for me and my child, today. I have to trust us both that it will work out for tomorrow.